W5410 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Ruby
Sep 15 1905 Friday
To: [Rev.] Calvin McQuesten [Muskoka]
From: Ottawa Ladies College
My dearest old Cal,
It is such ages since I've written to you that I must take the very first evening. Here I am back again and have been since Tuesday night. I arrived with great crowds from Toronto two whole trains full and so much baggage that only those who came last like us and had their trunks thrown on top saw them that night. Some waited for two days.
When I found my way here there was a nice surprise--a pretty new green & white striped wall paper with a little flower & white watered paper ceiling & border & I've been trying to make my new & old things live peaceably together. My red & yellow tablecloth is not fond of my wall paper. My Mauve comforter will have nothing whatever to say to the red table-cloth & also sniffs at the pinky brown carpet & they all together make faces at my poor little old screen which is quite dirty-faced from long service.
And Mrs. Innes, dear soul is always giving me the latest of things & so she took away a pretty mauve set on my wash-stand & put in a black and white set so I'm in mourning especially in the morning--Isn't that a sad pun!
We have fine prospects ahead of us, fifty-five boarders at present & lots of day pupils. Cheering about lots of work I fancy. The College is quite fine, so many rooms done over and such a pretty library.
I'm so glad you've been having such a fine summer of it. It was always so cheering to get your letters & know you were so well. And we heard such fine reports of you. I don't think it made me any prouder of you but it made me happier to know you were being thoroughly appreciated as you should be.
Tim [Tom] is [was?] off to lumber camp and Jack MacLaren had been up over Sunday & Monday with him & showed me a whole set of views of the lumber camp & of Paddy P. & gave me one of Tim himself standing with his pike & the logs crowded nearby and the little houses in the rear where they sleep. Poor Tim was so tired of the city and so glad to get off to his dear lumber camp and his old cronies there.1
Edna wasn't well this summer & came home very poorly but I hope to hear in my letter to-morrow that she is better.2
I'm well myself and though I plead the excuse of busyness [sic] for not writing to you yet my holidays really set me up & I'm going to do as Tom's friend Joe said when he was pulling up with much effort a small log. "Well Joe what are you doing?"--"As little as possible." So you see I'm in a lazy frame & won't do too much.3
I was downtown the other day & my young Chinaman Sewing Set & four other of the nicest boys in the school have started a store.4 It is really a beautiful store with such lovely things and you should have seen their smiling faces when they saw me come in & told me how well they were doing. They have sold so much & one boy has gone over to China & Japan & another is to go in two months. This is the reward for not working in the restaurant on Sunday I think and I'm so pleased about it.
Well old boy, you'll soon be leaving Muskoka & I think perhaps you will be getting tired of it by the end of Sept. I did wish I could have seen you this summer but I'll just have to add it to the pleasure in store at Xmas time. And time goes so quickly nothing seems far off now.
Don't you be making too many schemes for work in the fall my son. Take your wise sister's advice.
And now I must be off to the post with my letters. With ever so much love and kisses my dearest brother.
Your loving sister,
[P.S.] Write to me soon like a good boy!
1 For Tom's work at the lumber camp, see W4977. This letter indicates that he spent at least part of the summer of 1905 at the lumber camp, which would make three summers that he spent at the lumber camp.
2 Edna inherited the family tendency to suffer breakdowns under stress. For the Edna story see her Bio by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then on her picture.
3 Ruby's health has been precarious for several years and she finally came down with "Consumption" and died in 1911 of Tuberculosis. See W6135 and for a bio. of Ruby, click on "Family" on the Home Page and then on her picture.
4 Ruby often tells of teaching the Chinamen and the Japanese imigrants as part of the "Social Gospel" and urban missionary thrust of the age.